Australia to invest heavily in new air defense capabilities in response to North Korea, China threats – Forward Observer Shop

Australia to invest heavily in new air defense capabilities in response to North Korea, China threats

The Australian government is launching a $156-plus USD billion effort to upgrade warships, land, and air defenses as North Korea continues its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development, and as a hedge against a more assertive China.

Canberra plans to upgrade air defense systems on nine frigates, purchase 100 U.S.-made stealth fighters, and buy new French-designed submarines, in addition to armed drones.

The frigate upgrades will allow the ships to integrate more effectively with U.S. and Japanese warships. The technology will enable these ships “to engage threat missiles at long range, which is vital given rogue states are developing missiles with advanced range and speed,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told a naval conference in Sydney. “We must have the capability to meet and defeat them.”

The warships will be chosen from three designs offered by BAE Systems PLC, Italy’s Fincantieri SpA and Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, and equipped with the Aegis missile defense system built by Lockheed Martin and currently in use in the U.S. and Japanese navies.

The Aegis system allows warships to track and intercept multiple targets at a distance. Common combat system could help all three nations share data and protect one another in the event of a conflict.

“Enhancements that may be offered in the future are numerous. One of those may be ballistic missile defense,” Australia’s navy chief, Vice Admiral Timothy Barrett, said.

By 2030, more than half of the world’s submarines will be in Asia; China now has more attack subs than the U.S. does.

Why it’s on our radar: Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 2: What are the latest indicators of a U.S.-China conflict?  Each week in our Strategic Intelligence Summary, we gauge the likelihood and scope of conflict with Russia, China, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and track the latest developments in each region.  Subscribe here to receive our premium intelligence products prepared by Intelligence and special operations veterans.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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